January 28, 2015

4 | 52 Mini Corn Dog Muffins

Sounds like something you would make for a kid's birthday party, right?
Or - if you live in the US - for a Super Bowl party.

I just made it for grown-ups. For dinner.
To go with soup & salad. And no Super Bowl.
Is that ridiculous? Nah.
It's just party food without a party. And that's totally normal.

Mini Corn Dog Muffins

Makes 48 Mini Muffins

113 g (1/2 cup) melted butter
100 g (1/2 cup) sugar
2 eggs
240 ml (1 cup) buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
160 g (1 cup) cornmeal
128 g (1 cup) all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 all-beef hot dogs, cut into slices

 Before                                                                                After
  • Preheat oven to 190°C (375°F).
  • Whisk together melted butter and sugar.
  • Add eggs and whisk to incorporate. Add buttermilk and whisk until smooth.
  • In a separate bowl, combine baking soda, cornmeal, flour, and salt, and stir to combine. Whisk into wet ingredients in two batches.
  • Grease a mini muffin tin and spoon 1 tablespoon of batter into each mini muffin cup. Place one hot dog bite into the middle of each cup.
  • Bake for 8-12 minutes (until golden brown). Cool in tin for 5 minutes before serving. Store leftovers in the refrigerator, and re-heat for 20-30 seconds before serving.

My modifications:
But. I only have one 24 mini muffin tin and one 12 mini muffin tin. For the muffins in the 24 tin I could only use 1 teaspoon of batter and half a slice of hot dog because they are so small. Too small for this recipe. Plus, the beef sausage you can easily get here is bigger in diameter than hot dog sausages....
There was a bit of batter left in the end and I used it for 2 regular sized muffins, sticking 5 slices of sausage in each (see picture below). I think this is what I will do for the whole batch next time. It just gives a better corn bread-sausage-ratio, in my opinion.

The taste:
Like very good, moist, spongy corn bread with a hint of sausage :)
Bigger really is better for these, in my opinion. Especially if you don't make them for a party.

Is there any party food that you like to eat even without a party?

January 21, 2015

3 | 52 Peanut Butter & Jam Bars

Peanut butter and jam. A match made in culinary heaven.

I don't even know what else to say. PB&J doesn't need many words, I think.

Make these PB&J bars at your own risk: the amount of peanut butter in these is insane.

Peanut Butter & Jam Bars

227 g (1 cup) butter, at room temperature
300 g (1 1/2 cups) sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs, at room temperature
450 g (2 cups) creamy peanut butter
380 g (3 cups) flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
325 g (1 1/2 cups) jam (of your choice)
85 g (2/3 cup) salted peanuts, coarsely chopped (optional)
  • Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). Line a 33x22 cm / 13x9 inch baking pan with parchment paper. 
  • Mix together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. 
  • Add eggs, vanilla and peanut butter and mix until combined. 
  • Add flour and baking powder and mix until all is well combined. 
  • Spread 2/3 of the dough onto the bottom of the pan. Spread jam on top of it. Drop the remaining dough over the jam with a teaspoon. 
  • Bake for about 25-30 minutes until the edges start to brown. Remove from oven and let cool. 
My modifications:
As I already said above, the amount of peanut butter in these is insane. I noticed this because one entire jar (at least the standard small size you can buy in Europe) was not enough... Thankfully, I had another big (American size) jar in the pantry. It was the crunchy kind but that was totally fine. In the end, I think I used 2/3 creamy PB and 1/3 crunchy PB.
I would definitely make it like this again to add a little texture/crunch without having to worry about chopping those optional peanuts...
And I used raspberry jam (my favorite with PB - next to apple jelly).

The taste:
Well. It's the full load of PB&J. Actually, more of PB. One bar easily replaces an entire meal. But that's okay. It's PB&J, after all.

Which flavor combination do you find unbeatable? 
Which combo do you despise and why?

January 14, 2015

2 | 52 Grapefruit Pound Cake

After the holidays is before the celebration.
That's what it always feels like when my grandma's birthday is coming up on January 4th, so shortly after Christmas and New Year's.

This year I wanted to bake something that could easily be offered to visitors (no cutting, no plates, no mess) so I looked for a cake that could be baked in those cute little paper mini loaf pans.

When I ask my grandma what kind of cake she likes, she always says that she doesn't care as long as it involves a fruity flavor and is not dry.

Browsing Pinterest, this is what I decided on:

2 | 52 Grapefruit Pound Cake

250 g (2 cups) flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
335 g sugar (1 2/3 cups) sugar
85 g (6 tablespoons) butter, softened
170 g (6 ounces) cream cheese (reduced fat)
2 large eggs
60 ml (1/4 cup) canola oil
2 tablespoons grapefruit peel, grated
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
180 ml (1/2 cup) milk
180 ml (1/2 cup) fresh grapefruit juice
160 g (1 1/4 cups) powdered sugar

  • Preheat oven to 170°C (325°F).
  • Combine flour, baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. 
  • Mix sugar, butter, and cream cheese in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time. Beat in oil, grapefruit peel, and vanilla.
  • Alternatingly, add flour mixture and milk to batter. Pour batter into loaf pan and bake for 70 minutes or until wooden pick comes out clean. Let cool.
  • Bring grapefruit juice to a boil. Cook until reduced to 3 tablespoons. Cool slightly and stir in powdered sugar. Drizzle over cake.

My modifications:
I don't have canola oil at home so I used olive oil instead. I've done it before in other cake recipes and it has never been problematic flavor-wise.
I didn't cook the frosting but mixed it as always: powdered sugar in cold liquid. Worked well and still had a good flavor.

The taste:
I really loved how moist this cake was! And the flavor in general was very good. BUT.
The problem - I think - was the grapefruit peel. It tasted so unbelievably bitter that the cake had a sharp taste that almost burned my mouth. I kid you not. And it definitely wasn't in the frosting with just the juice but in the batter.
Additionally, while it tasted nice and citrusy, you couldn't taste that it was grapefruit. So next time I will just make it with orange, lemon or lime. I've never had these peel problems with those citrus fruit.

What's your grandma's favorite cake?

January 7, 2015

1 | 52 Neujahrsbrezel / New Year's Pretzel

Happy New Year!
Yes, I know, 2015 is one week old already but still.
Happy New Year!

And yes: surprise! 52 Cakes is back! Whoo-hoo!

Okay, enough with the exclamation marks now. Let's get back to the baking business.

The truth is, I missed this space. And the crazy baking.
I did bake, of course. But not that much. And it always felt different. Meaningless, even. Knowing that I would just share the cakes/bakes with whoever was eating the results with me.

So. Let's get the baking party started again. You in?

I know. It ain't pretty.

1 | 52 Neujahrsbrezel / New Year's Pretzel

There can't be anything more logical than to start the year with a Neujahrsbretzel.
I have to admit that I didn't even know there was such a thing. But then I saw it in a bakery's window in town and on somebody's Instagram stream (from Germany).
Of course I had to give it a try. And it's supposed to bring you luck. Sounds good, right?

For 2 Brezeln/pretzels:

20 g (a little less than 1 oz) fresh yeast
200 ml (1 cup minus 2 tablespoons) milk, lukewarm
500 g (4 cups) flour
50 g (1/4 cup) sugar
1 tablespoon honey
1 egg
80 g (3/4 stick) butter, softened
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1 sachet vanilla sugar
1 teaspoon lemon peel, grated
1 egg yolk for brushing
coarse sugar for sprinkling (optional)
  • Dissolve the yeast in lukewarm milk. Combine flour and sugar in a big bowl. Pour yeast-milk-mix into the middle of the flour-sugar-mix, stirring in a little bit of the flour-mix with a fork, making a yeast sponge. Cover and let rise for 20 minutes.
  • Add remaining ingredients (except for the egg yolk) and knead 10 minutes with your mixer (and dough hook). Let rise for another 45 minutes.
  • Knead dough again quickly with your hands and divide into 2 equal parts. Roll each to about a 1 meter/3 feet long roll, being a bit thicker in the middle. Form a pretzel from each roll, put both on a baking sheet. Let rise again until they doubled in size.
  • Stir egg yolk with 1 tablespoon water and a pinch of salt and brush pretzels with it. Sprinkle coarse sugar on top, if you wish. 
  • Bake for 20 minutes in preheated oven at 210°C (410°F).

My modifications:
I didn't have any coarse sugar at hand so I left it out. But other than that - no modifications.

The taste:
A good start of the New Year! Not too sweet and not dry at all. It reminded us of Italian Panettone but without the raisins, chocolate chips, or other additions.
Speaking of additions though: I think some raisins would have even made this better. So if you like raisins - why not give it a try and add a handful?

Do you have a special recipe that you always make for New Year's?